Cantwell Introduces Pioneering Proposal to Electrify and Decarbonize All Modes of Transportation

U.S. transportation sector is nation’s largest source of greenhouse gas emissions. Bill creates new federal tax incentive to accelerate the manufacturing and adoption of all types of electric transportation.

WASHINGTON D.C. – ?This week, U.S. Senator Maria Cantwell (D-WA) and Senator Debbie Stabenow (D-MI) introduced the Fueling America’s Security and Transportation with Electricity Act of 2021 (FAST Electricity Act), which creates a new federal tax incentive to accelerate the manufacturing and adoption of all types of electrified transportation modes ranging from recreational vehicles, to boats, to ships, to planes, as well as industrial equipment such as forklifts, tractors, excavators, and port equipment.  Since the U.S. transportation sector is the nation’s largest source of greenhouse gas emissions and urban air pollution, accelerating the move away from petroleum will save lives, reduce climate impacts, and help ensure the United States creates the industries and jobs that will supply a trillion dollar global EV market.

The FAST Electricity Act, described in the more detail here, would establish a 30% investment tax credit for any electrically propelled vehicle that is not an on-road passenger car or truck. The bill also provides a 30% investment tax credit for recharging or hydrogen refueling infrastructure needed to power the transportation vehicles of tomorrow. In 2008, Senator Cantwell partnered with then-Senator Orrin Hatch (R-UT) to author and ensure the enactment of the current $7,500 tax incentive for electrified passenger vehicles, a credit that is often cited as being pivotal in growing the electric car and truck market from essentially nothing 15 years ago to now hundreds of models that consumers will be able to choose from in the next year or two. ?

“Spurring the adoption of clean buses, trucks, boats, and planes will ensure that our transportation system can continue to move goods and people to where they need to be while also tackling the looming climate crisis,” said Senator Cantwell. “There are a lot of winners with this strategy. Electrifying transportation will dramatically lower the levels of harmful air pollution in Washington state communities located near our busy transportation corridors and international ports. It will allow fishermen to enjoy the benefits of a quiet, fully electric boat. Transit agencies will be able to reduce operating costs and pass those saving on to commuters.”

Besides the new tax incentives, the FAST Electricity Act will expand the existing Advanced Technology Vehicles Manufacturing (ATVM) loan program to support expansion of domestic manufacturing of these new electric transportation options and the corresponding supply chains needed to produce them. Providing investment throughout the entire manufacturing ecosystem not only provide good jobs, but supports the innovation ecosystem needed to lead the future global market in electric transportation.

In addition to creating new manufacturing opportunities and saving drivers at the pump, electrifying transportation will also provide significant environmental and health benefits through improved air quality while also helping to address climate change. Transportation is the largest source of CO2 emissions in the U.S., accounting for roughly 35% of all CO2 emissions. A Texas A&M study found that electrifying 40% of medium and heavy duty vehicles in Houston, or about 1% of all vehicles on the road, would reduce daily NOX emissions in the city by 25% and reduce exposure to harmful PM2.5 pollution within low-income communities. The American Lung Association estimates that a shift to electric transportation by 2050 could avoid $72 billion in health costs, save thousands of lives, and avoid tens of thousands of asthma attacks each year.

Statements of Support for the FAST Electricity Act:

Zero Emission Transportation Association – Joe Britton, Executive Director:  "The Zero Emission Transportation Association (ZETA) strongly supports the FAST Electricity Act and commends Senator Cantwell for her commitment to zero-emission transportation. Adopting strong consumer incentives, investing in medium- and heavy-duty electrification, and shoring up programs like the Advanced Technology Vehicle Manufacturing program are key steps for cultivating an advanced vehicle sector. Legislation like Senator Cantwell's FAST Electricity Act will help drive American innovation and set us up to out-compete anyone in the world."

The Electric Drive Transportation Association (EDTA) -- Genevieve Cullen, EDTA President:  “The Electric Drive Transportation Association applauds the leadership of Senator Cantwell in electric transportation and in establishing critical incentives for medium and heavy duty electric drive vehicles. Electrifying this segment is essential to our climate and competitiveness goals and we look forward to working with the Senator as the FAST Electricity Act moves through Congress.”

National Marine Manufacturers Association – Callie Hoyt, Director of Federal Affairs: “The recreational boating industry applauds Senator Cantwell’s introduction of the FAST Electricity Act that would enable marine businesses to invest in next generation propulsion technologies and associated charging infrastructure. Providing incentives to boost investments in greener products is a top policy priority for NMMA and we look forward to working with Congress as the industry looks toward advancing next-gen technologies to further reduce emissions and conserve energy.”

Business Council for Sustainable Energy (BSCE) – Lisa Jacobson, President: “BCSE commends Senator Cantwell for her leadership in introducing the Fast Electricity Act, and looks forward to sharing private sector feedback on this bill, and other important clean energy tax policies, as they are integrated into infrastructure legislation this year. Transportation now accounts for the largest share of U.S. greenhouse gas emissions. Measures to incentivize cleaner fleets and lower-emission transportation infrastructure are essential to modernizing our energy economy, creating jobs and advancing climate action.”

Fuel Cell and Hydrogen Energy Association (FCHEA) – Morry Markowitz, President: “The Fuel Cell and Hydrogen Energy Association (FCHEA) supports the FAST Electricity Act and its goal of accelerating the adoption of zero-emission fuel cell electric vehicles and hydrogen infrastructure across the United States…It is clear that hydrogen will play a critical role in not only decarbonizing our transportation sector, but also driving economic growth through innovative green collar manufacturing.  This legislation is an important component of reaching our nation’s environmental and economic goals.”

The full text of the bill is available HERE.